CEO Tim Browne makes no bones about it: Infoteria's success depends on enterprises adopting RosettaNet Inc.'s standards for e-business. "In some ways, we banked the success of the company on RosettaNet," he says.
That's not such a bad bet, says Gartner Inc.'s Deborah Hess. RosettaNet a nonprofit consortium of 400 companies concentrated in the electronics, semiconductor manufacturing and IT industries has a good chance of building the most widely used XML-based standards for data exchange and business-process alignment among trading partners and supply chains, she says.
RosettaNet's standards are the most mature of the specifications available, she adds. And, despite its roots in a narrow set of computer-focused industries, RosettaNet has opened up its standardization process to produce XML vocabularies for a wide range of markets.
However, Infoteria Corp. isn't well-known and is often eclipsed by companies like WebMethods Inc. and Tibco Inc., says Hess. Other RosettaNet members also have products that perform similar, albeit broader, integration tasks.
WebMethods' XML integration platform doesn't have the same laser focus on RosettaNet as Infoteria, says Hess. It requires customization to support RosettaNet's standards. WebMethods tends to do the implementation for companies, she observes, rather than providing a do-it-yourself solution as Infoteria does.
Tibco isn't as close a competitor to Infoteria as WebMethods because it offers a much larger product line, says Hess. Tibco covers not only XML integration platforms, but also application servers, XML document extensibility tools, wireless portals and other areas. Enterprises may prefer to use Tibco when they need a wider range of applications than Infoteria can offer, she says.
The technology: Supply chain trading server software based on the RosettaNet XML standard.
Company officers: Tim Browne, president and CEO, U.S., and co-founder; Pina Hirano, president and CEO, Japan, and co-founder; Yoshiyuki Kitahara, executive vice president, chief technology officer and co-founder.
-- September 1998: Company founded.
-- January 1999: IPex shipped.
-- September 2001: Asteria released.
Burn money: $27 million from Nippon Technology Venture Partners Ltd., Softbank Venture Capital, Nippon Investment & Finance Co. and others.
Products/pricing: Asteria Enterprise Server starts at $200,000, Asteria Planet at $20,000, iConnector (data extraction) at $5,000, IXSLT (XML style sheet processor) at $5,000 and iPex (XML development tool kit) at $5,000.
Customers: Pioneer Corp., Siemens AG, Ohka America Inc., Nortel Networks Corp. and others.
Red flags for IT:
-- Infoteria's expertise is in RosettaNet XML standards.
--Some competitors offer a wider range of products and services.